Robert E. Lee

R. M. Price

West Point.

19 Nov. 1852


I have received your note of the 16th inst:, & am gratified at hearing anything in extenuation of the conduct of Cadet Lewis. I have been favorably impressed with his character & have much regretted the occurrence of his offence. Upon his first return I endeavored to impress him with its serious matter, & told him the penalty he had incurred, but encouraged to be attentive & diligent in his studies & commended his return to his duty. I was therefore the more mortified at its repetition, & being coupled with a breach of arrest, which in a military point of view is a violation of honour, I felt compelled to recommend the forfeiture of his appointment. Unfortunately for individual cases, the Cadets have to be considered collectively, & the treatment of one is considered a precedent for another. You may judge how often the present case would be cited as an example by others, who would be tempted to follow it. Should it be overlooked by the Secty. by whose judgement it must be decided, I hope Cadet Lewis will earnestly apply himself to be more diligent in his studies & attentive to his duties. I have his assurance to this effect & have so reported to the Eng. dept. If he does not, I fear he will not pass his Jany. examination. His conduct has not been altogether unexceptionable since his return, nor has he been as proficient in his studies latterly as he was at first. His recitation marks the last week, in the lowest section of Mathematics was 4.3, the maximum in the section, being 12. In English studies, his marks were 4.5, the maximum being 9. Should he be retained, I hope you will endeavour to stimulate him to greater exertion.

I remain, Very resply. Yo obed Ser(Signed) R E Lee.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 2, pp. 299–300. Addressed “Honble. R. M. Price Hoboken N.J.”